Sunday Kitchen is so much more than a cooking workshop. It is the baby of Karima Hazim & her mum Sivine, who take you on a journey through food and stories to Lebanon. Despite being in stunning kitchens in Rosebery, Sydney, you truly feel that you have been to a different place, they do it so well.
I first saw Karima's work through Luisa Brimble's photography. They are documenting traditional Lebanese food and practices through The Heirloom Project. Photo essays of Karima's family & friends sharing cooking and stories passed on down through generations, I was enthralled and wanted to know more. I did a workshop with Karima & Sivine and it was everything it seems on social media, not often the case, but indeed it was more.
So we dive into Karima's story & bag of choice, Toffee Tote.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am Karima, I am 33 years old and the proudest mother of two little ladies, Layla and Eden. When I finished high school I got into Fashion school at the prestigious University of Technology in Sydney and jumped into the course not really thinking about what I saw myself doing when I was done. After a few years working odd jobs, I travelled to Vietnam with a friend and started a small fashion label selling in Sydney and manufacturing in Vietnam. As much as I enjoyed the designing, travelling, and selling I knew I wasn't going to last in the industry particularly if I ever wanted to have a family of my own one day.
Giving birth to my first born Layla changed my whole world and I knew if I was to return to any form of work, it would have to be to do something I love and truly believe in. My Fashion degree taught me the value of story telling and honing in on all of the memories, moments and experiences in life to create. Sunday Kitchen was born through story telling but rather than the medium be a fashion collection, it was through food I was able to recreate memories and connect to my heritage. Every Sunday we welcome 15-20 guests into our studio kitchen and share with them the moorish lunches my wonderful mother Sivine would put on for our family when we were growing up. It's not just a cooking workshop but an insight into Lebanese family life and migration, and of course cooking and the joy of bringing people together. I am also very passionate about preserving family recipes and seeing our guests go and recreate family heirlooms, is such a beautiful thing. To leave my children each weekend to work is difficult, but I am delighted to be able to bring something special to the guests we get to spend our Sundays with. It makes me a better mother and person.
I try and spend as much time as I can with elders, particularly Lebanese elders in the community, whether it be friends grandparents, their grandparents friends and neighbours. I love listening and learning about their life, how they lived, how they survived hardship, and how they nourished their large families so far away from their home and country. In my darkest moments I have drawn on their strength.
Where do you spend your Monday to Friday? How are your weekends spent?
Monday to Friday I work on my small business, Sunday Kitchen, answering emails, recipe writing, and researching new dishes and recipes for my workshops.
Weekends are all about work. I spend Saturday at various markets and grocers sourcing the very best seasonal produce, herbs from family and friends backyards and gardens. Sunday we run our sessions, so it's always very exciting for me to see who walks through the doors and spends their Sunday with us.
Who do you share your life with?
My husband Abdul and I are parents to our two sweet daughters, Layla (5) and Eden (3), so things are very busy in our house. They love everything to do with Sunday Kitchen and usually accompany me on my sourcing trips and get to taste all the cooking that goes on in my home "test" kitchen, as I like to call it. Layla in particular loves to help so its a joy to have her in the kitchen with me. Abdul is a physiotherapist and we couldnt be more different as people, but he is an incredible supporter of mine and really pushes me to continue to challenge and improve myself. He also makes the best "test kitchen" guinea pig and always gives raving reviews.
And finally, my sweet little Bengal cat Ghali, which translates to precious in Arabic, he is 1years old and walks around the house crying, truly, as he smells the cooking and wants to eat it all.
What is something you love to do daily, weekly, monthly and yearly?
Daily: Would definitely be, preparing a meal, whether its a small snack, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert, there is something so satisfying about cooking something and enjoying it, in your own space and at your own time.
Weekly: Have to say visiting a farmers market once a week is a big love of mine even if I don't have a workshop on. It is a bit like a mystery box challenge for me when I shop there as you are only able to source fresh seasonal produce so I love cooking around the produce I find.
Monthly: Visiting antique and vintage stores for table ware, plates, tablecloths, cutlery, it's a bit of an obsession really. I like to block a whole day out midweek and hop from one to another.
Yearly: Annual 2 week break from routine to spend quality time with my small family and extended family. Pure uninterrupted time by the beach.
How would you describe your style?
I love classics. When I pick something up I want to know I will be keeping it for a while if not forever.
I never follow trends, classic to me is always in style. I love texture when I dress too, chunky hand made knits, leather, velvet, silk, oh and I do love a good print.
Why did you choose the KARMME Tote in Toffee and most importantly, we want to know....
what’s in it?
I knew I wanted something classic, stylish and practical that I could use everyday, no point having a nice bag that sits in the wardrobe.
On the weekend it travels with me on trips to the markets where I fill it with jars of olives, and capers, bunches of parsley and mint, butter, long fresh baguettes and a bunch of poppies which I have in my vase weekly when in season.
During the week it holds my diary and laptop and makes the perfect work meeting companion, and of course as a Mum, I just love knowing I can fit baby wipes, a drink bottle and hand sanitiser in there comfortably!
Do you change your bag often or are you a buy one and thrash it out kind of lady?
Definitely buy one and thrash it out kind of lady, the last bag I bought was in 2016 on my honey moon.
What do you love most about the KARMME piece you own?
Firstly I was drawn to the colour and shape, but after wearing it, its the strap length, size and pockets that have me falling for it everyday. It's such a classic, practical, and versatile bag, I just feel really good when I am carrying it.
Do you ever carry around anything that might be considered unusual? If so please share.
Snacks. But that should NOT be considered unusual!. I picked up this habit when I was pregnant with Layla, and had severe nausea so I always had to be snacking on something. My bag always has things like, small tub of pistachios, or a bar of dark chocolate, dried figs and dates, neatly packed Turkish delight. Snacks are replenished every few days as I pick something up on my daily errands and some of it stays in my bag.
Words you try to live by?
Be kind, have empathy, feel, you don't know what life line you may be in that moment to someone.